Technology in Society

Scary time

I live in the most scary epoch ever. All historical data, pictures, footages are at my fingertips. Since the era of photography started, humanity have pretty much documented the entire 20th century and uploaded it online. Two clicks away from the curious me.

Every time I see a photo from 19xxs, I try to understand where it stands compared to my lifetime. Ok, this is 1993’s coup on Moscow. Happened during my lifetime, I was very young. These Star Wars behind on stage photos were taken in 197os, when my mom and dad were as young as I am now. 2 lifetimes of mine ago. The actors look so young in the photos but they’re old or dead now. Or look at these WWII soldiers, they all have died of age by now. What about these SR71 pilots, who are practically space pioneers. Most likely all dead of finishing their lives.

Ability to compare and to visualise individual’s history constantly reminds me how really short my active lifespan is. It’s feels like the best years are between my 20s and 40s where half of 20s perished. Time after 40 feels like slowing down and less valuable compared young decades. Youth, energy and beauty seem to be no longer there even for Hollywood start in their 40s. Sadly, there are only 2 young decades when you have your body not declining.

It’s easy not to pay attention to this given that you are not reminded about how short other people lives are. I believe it was easier before the information era, because there was at least less information available for an average individual, thus less reminders. I think it was easier to live your life back then. When the shortness of life was less obvious.

WWW’s first web page.

Eventually, the first ever web page is known. Here it is. The story.

It all has started 30 April 1993

This post’s subject is recursive.

Про приход и становление Интернета в России

Наткнулся на статью-биографию коопертива, которые подключил Россию к Интернет в далеком 1989 году. Он же продвигал первый русский Юникс (или один из первых). Рекомендую увлекательнейшее чтение.

You might be an Network Guy If

Preparing to CCNP SWITCH by the official certification guide involves lots of side research. Previous time, filling my gaps in STP, I found spanning tree poem. Today I was researching about STP again and found an interesting text, which is a joke about telecom guys. By far I know telecom-involved people as the ones who have no any kind of subculture whatsoever. Programmers and Administrators have their jokes, legends, stories, even official days. Telecom guys do not seem to. Or it might be my impression only. Nevertheless, I’m going to collect stuff here which might belong to a “nonexistent” telecom subculture.

You might be an Network Guy If

You know more ip addresses than phone numbers
You regularly mock TV shows for using technology that isn’t part of the feature set available on the devices they have
You correct people who mix up Megabytes and Megabits
You waited eagerly for wireless N to be approved officially.
You can explain everything in your life using 7 layers
You tell people not to use TKIP because of it’s security flaw
You think people should be able to do without DNS for a day, just use IP addresses…
You follow your wife around shopping retail stores and spend your time skimming the ceilings for their APs and mapping out a heat map of the store in your head
You know what TCP/IP stands for, not to mention DNS, HTTP, SNMP, BGP, OSPF, WPA, and DHCP – Sometimes you wonder if you know more acronyms than words
You’ve known what IPv6 was for years
Cmd, telnet, and ssh are useful everyday tools, not just black boxes
Linus Torvalds comes up in everyday conversation
You know jokes about DHCP and LSAs
You cringe when you have to use a Gui to configure a switch or router
Your Amazon wish list consists of routers and ASA firewalls
Dealing with Tier 1 tech support makes you pull your hair out.
You have read the NSA’s security best practices
The routing protocol in your house changes daily depending on what you have been reading
You know what a nibble is
You know what 1000 Terabytes is called
You can intelligently discuss how Egypt shut off their Internet to the country


Demoronizer for a Microsoft’s HTML

I discovered another piece of computer’s history related to Microsoft’s standards ignorance. Eventually, in the early days of WEB, there was ASCII which supported only American english characters. It was fine for American-speaking users, but obviously not fine for the rest of the word who wanted to use other symbols. To solve it, ISO 8859 family of encodings was standardized. These encodings were using 8th bit of ASCII (occupying 7 bits) and were an addition to ASCII, hence, they were backwards compatible with ASCII.

The ISO 8859-1, or “Latin 1” was the most widely used encoding. it was used as a default charset for Linux, for an early HTML versions, for X server etc. Since it was used in HTML, it was used by a Microsoft software too. Not surprisingly, Microsoft had it’s own unique vision of standards.

Microsoft delivered their own Latin-1 – Windows 1252 with their own set of characters in a range from 0x82 through 0x95. The mentioned range is not used in ISO Latin-1. What characters were in the proprietary range? There were quotes, apostrophes and some more.

If you were creating HTML in a Microsoft software, and it had “smart quotes” option enabled (it’s enabled by default), the resulting HTML document would be in Windows-1252. Hence, it would contain quotes and apostrophes from the ISO-unused range. As a result, when windows-1252 file is opened in a browser in non-windows OS, the invalid characters are ignored or replaced by either question marks or a white space, making the page ugly.

Surprisingly, There are still quoteless and apostropheless web pages out there in the Internet. If own one of them, please apply demoronizer to it.


Inventions of The Egypt Revolution: Emergency Internet Shutdown

The last, but not the least invention of the Egypt revolution is Country-wide Internet blackout. Local authorities cut the Internet shortly after they realized the way riots were coordinated. Local authorities used their influence to successfully convince 5 major ISP’s to shut Internet down. Technically speaking, all routes leading to Egypt were erased from the global routing table (Here is more details).

The simultaneous nature if the blackout means it was prepared before it’s happened, by every ISP separately. Consequentially, the same operation may be already prepared for any country around the globe. Hence, if you are about to start revolution, do not rely on the Internet unless it belongs to you, or unless ISP’s are on your side.

Another important conclusion about the event is telecommunications and media are closer related to a government than an army in some countries. For example in Egypt army took a side of rioting people, but ISP’s instead continued their Internet blockade. I can’t understand how it’s possible for few companies to be more loyal to the government than the entire Egypt army. What benefits does government bring to the companies? What level does their cooperation have? These questions are to be answered.

The effect of the blackout are to be calculated. Nobody knows what happens when you disconnect 80 M people. Nobody knows yet how effective it was. Nobody knows where and when it happen next. The event brings shock and raises many questions.

31 of January 2011, Friday was a day telecommunications raised in personal weapon effectiveness chart.

Inventions of The Egypt Revolution: Web-based Riots Coordination

I am continuing to share my impressions about the current revolution in Egypt.  Another invention of it – online riots coordination. It has been originated in Tunisia, where riots were coordinated via Twitter. In Egypt it went a step forward. As I understood from the public information sources, all kinds of social web services were involved into the information exchange.

Previously, proper coordination was available to an army and a governments only, but now with Web 2.0 it became available to everybody. It is a big step forward towards expansion of the ordinary people’s power, bringing more possibilities of delegating a power to people and cutting power from a government. More precisely, it’s a big possibility to make a big step towards democratic society.

Currently the importance of the Web is seen by the governments all over the world. Hence, I expect more control over the Web. The authorities are taking over the Web for a while already, and they’ll continue. Currently web became a subject of a real hazard to public authority, hence I expect raising degree of control over the Internet. I do not even know in which way yet.

Talking about web in this way, It is hard not to mention that Internet and Web particularly are greatest tools of providing freedom to people. Everybody has to protect the freedom of the Web as his own freedom.

Inventions of The Egypt Revolution: Leader-free Revolution.

First time in the history, the revolution was not inspired by a charismatic leader, but was a result of discussions on the web. Growing dissatisfaction of Egyptian people was published in their blogs and heavily discussed, until exploded. The decision to go to the streets was taken on-line on a Fecebook and heavily supported.

Another distinctive property of the Egypt revolution is a social class who moved the activities. The revolution was initially made not by a working class, but a middle class. Firstly, it’s unusual for well-satisfied middle class to rage against the existing social system. Secondly, the whole picture of a middle class having no leader inspiring army and a working class to make revolution looks much more wise and fair than a dictated working class throwing down existing government to set their authority-desiring leader.

It reveals a whole new hope for a brand new social culture, when countries are ruled by decentralized well-educated society instead of dictators. By the way, this is called Democracy. Feel the difference to current forms of social orders called “Democracies” (hello, US, privet Russia).